Intervention of the Independent Expert on the

Intervention of the Independent Expert on the
promotion of a democratic and equitable international
order to the inter-governmental working group on the
Right to Peace
Room XVIII, Monday 30 June 2014
Dear Ambassador Guillermet, dear colleagues,
Allow me to refer to Human Rights Council Resolutions 18/6, 21/9 and 25/15, as well as
pertinent General Assembly Resolutions on a democratic and equitable international
order, which affirm the right to peace and task the mandate-holder with promoting this
In my reports to the Human Rights Council and General Assembly, I have elaborated on
the legal basis of the right to peace, endeavoured to elucidate the links between peace
and human rights, and postulated a vision of peace as an individual and collective
human right.
I wish to recall the text of the Advisory Committee’s Draft Declaration on the Right to
Peace, which has garnered the support of more than 2000 civil society organizations,
including PEN International, which in September 2013 adopted the Bled Manifesto on
Peace, specifically endorsing the on-going process to adopt a UN Declaration on the
Right to Peace.
Now, turning to the Draft UN Declaration before us, while I endorse the preambular
paragraphs, I find the operative paragraphs too summary and devoid of added value. I
think that key elements should be incorporated in the operative part. For instance, after
Article 2, the working group may consider adding the language:
The implementation of the right to peace requires serious disarmament negotiations,
since disarmament promotes peace and releases funds for sustainable development.
The right to peace should be seen in its collective and individual dimensions, and
understood as an enabling right without which no one can fully enjoy civil, cultural,
economic, political and social rights.
The progressive implementation of the right of self-determination as stipulated in the UN
Charter is a condition for the prevention of internal, regional and international armed
I wish the second session of the inter-governmental working group success in the noble
task of reaffirming the UN’s commitment to peace and incorporating into the draft some
of the important elements contained in the Advisory Committee’s draft text. It would be
regrettable if civil society were to perceive the current exercise as retrogression.
Thank you.
Intervention of the Independent Expert on the
Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International
Order, Alfred de Zayas, During the discussion of the
Preamble of the Draft Declaration
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Dear Ambassador Guillermet, dear colleagues,
I have listened attentively to the statements by the delegations of the United States,
Republic of Korea, Australia, the Russian Federation, Egypt, Tunisia, Indonesia, Algeria,
Morocco, Uruguay, Pakistan and Japan. It is good that so many delegations are actively
participating in this exercise and that constructive proposals have been made to
strengthen the existing text.
As an academic who has published several studies on the Human Right to Peace, I
venture to articulate an opinion that the Preamble needs to be completed by the addition
of references to existing legal instruments and pertinent mechanisms.
I would propose adding the following preambular paragraphs
Reaffirming the GA Resolution 39/11 of 12 November 1984 on the Right of Peoples to
Reaffirming GA Resolution 2625 on Friendly Relations;
Reaffirming GA Resolution 3314 and the Definition of Aggression appended thereto;
Reiterating the commitment of all United Nations members to settle international
disputes through negotiation and peaceful means, as stipulated in article 2, paragraph 3,
of the UN Charter;
Repudiating the threat of and the use of force as stipulated in article 2, paragraph 4, of
the UN Charter;
Reaffirming those articles of international treaties, notably of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, which already codify component elements of the right to peace, inter alia
the right to life and the right to security of person;
Recalling the commitment to disarmament made by States parties to the NonProliferation Treaty, notably in its article VI ;
Encouraging the on-going discussions in the UN Conference on Disarmament;
Welcoming the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty by the General Assembly on 3 April
2013 and urging States to ratify it as soon as possible;
Concerned that the competition for resources, the scarcity of water, and the growing gulf
between rich and poor in the world lead to instability and may result in armed conflict,
and that such imbalances should be reduced by providing debt relief and technology
transfer …
Besides the above additions, I would redraft the existing paragraph 12 by adding at the
end of the paragraph: … and in this connection endorsing the work of the UN Conference
on Disarmament and the imperative to negotiate toward complete nuclear disarmament,
I would redraft the existing paragraph 17 by adding the concept of “structural violence”
so as to read: … and to end, reduce and prevent progressively structural violence and
armed conflict, in particular, by observing the following:
Stylistically I would propose avoiding the gerund “recalling” to begin every preambular
paragraph. Instead, I would suggest beginning each paragraph as follows:
Guided by
Guided also by
Aware that friendly relations among nations
Convinced that the inherent dignity
Deploring that the disregard and contempt for human rights
Affirming in particular
Reaffirming the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, in
particular the doctrine that
9. Considering that peace and security
10. Reaffirming the Millennium Declaration and the universal commitment
to eradicate poverty
11. Convinced that the full and complete
12. Conscious of the importance of prevention
13. Confident that the Human Rights Council shall continue to contribute,
14. Persuaded that the wide diffusion
15. Endorsing the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education
16. Committed to the implementation of the Declaration and Programme
of Action
Lastly, I would like to recall that this joint effort to adopt a UN Declaration on the Right
to Peace goes back to civil society initiatives and a worldwide movement for peace,
spearheaded by the Spanish Society for International Human Rights Law, a movement
that has garnered the support of more than 2000 civil society organizations, including
PEN International. Bearing in mind that individuals and groups in all regions of the world
are active stakeholders in this process, it would be most regrettable if civil society
organizations were to perceive the product of this working group as retrogression
instead of progressive development of international law.
I thank you
Intervention of Alfred de Zayas at the Working Group
on the Right to Peace, 2 July 2014
Dear Christian, dear colleagues
Allow me to suggest adding two new paragraphs to the operative part of the Declaration.
These paragraphs could come immediately after article 2:
States should engage in disarmament negotiations as a necessary condition for peace
and sustainable development. The continued arms race and growing arms trade
constitutes a grave danger to peace. States should promote the progressive
implementation of the right of self/determination of peoples as a contribution to national
and international peace and security.
In the alternative I suggest redrafting the second sentence of article 2 to read as
In this regard, States should undertake measures to bring about, maintain and enhance
conditions of peace, particularly by refraining from the threat or the use of force,
prohibiting war propaganda, engaging in disarmament negotiations, regulating and
reducing the arms trade, suppressing illegal commerce in all kinds of weapons,
progressively implementing the right of self-determination, and assisting people in
situations of humanitarian crises.
I would also like to ask all stakeholders to reread the Draft Declaration elaborated by the
Advisory Committee to the Human Rights Council. We all agree that the Advisory
Committee text was too complex and that it would have been difficult to reach
consensus on it. However, that does not mean that we have to throw the baby out with
the bath water. There was much substance and good reflection in the Advisory
Committee text that should be saved, particularly in articles 2 “human security”, 3
“disarmament” and 4 “Education for peace”.
Allow me to read excerpts from some sub-paragraphs of the Advisory Committee text,
which I think should be incorporated in the current draft declaration:
All peoples and individuals have a right to live in a world free of weapons of mass
destruction. States shall urgently eliminate all weapons of mass destruction or of
indiscriminate effect, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
States are invited to consider the creation and promotion of peace zones and of nuclear
weapon-free zones.
All peoples and individuals have a right to a comprehensive peace and human rights
Everyone has the right to have access to and receive information from diverse sources
without censorship … in order to be protected from manipulation in favour of warlike or
aggressive objectives. War propaganda should be prohibited.
I could continue reading from the Advisory Committee draft, which truly represented an
effort at the progressive development of international law, strongly endorsed by civil
We should endeavour to save as much of it as possible.